Marketing mastery: How to dazzle walk-ins

Home Columns Marketing mastery: How to dazzle walk-ins

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

(Second of two parts)

During a coaching call, I once asked a dealer from Connecticut, “If 10 people walk into your store, how many end up buying?”

“Around three,” he replied.

“That’s a 30% close rate, which means 70% of your walk- ins are not buying,” I said. “This means 70% the time, energy and money you spend getting people to walk in your door is wasted.”

Unfortunately, this dealer is not alone. In fact, studies show the average floor dealer only closes around 30-35% of walk-ins. Most dealers could transform their business if they simply converted more door swings into closed sales. So how can you do that? Actually, it’s not very hard if you’re willing to do what the majority of dealers don’t: “wow” your customers.

I’ve visited quite a few flooring showrooms and it’s common for them to be crammed with too many displays and/or so silent it’s depressing and/or smell like glue and dust. These conditions do not “wow” the customer. In fact, they do the opposite. In part one of this series I covered these problems and how to fix them. For example, curate your products so your showroom is more open and not cluttered with floor-to-ceiling display racks. Have background music playing so your store isn’t dead silent. Bake cookies/bread or get a popcorn machine so your store smells good.

Here are other “wow” strategies to consider:

Make your customers feel welcome. Have a beverage bar and offer them a drink of their choice. You can even use a laminated beverage menu for an even greater “wow” factor.

Greet your walk-ins right away and use scripts. I’ve walked into so many showrooms where no one greeted me for several minutes, even when I was the only person there. When I was finally greeted it was with the standard, “How may I help you?” or “Can I help you find something?” These are the opening lines used by everybody, so there is no “wow” factor. They also give the customer control of the sales process and introduce premature price and product discussions. Train your salespeople how to immediately take control of the sales process, create differentiation and position themselves as trusted advisors. Use scripts and role play them during your sales trainings.

Use testimonials everywhere. What others say about you will wow your prospects far more effectively than anything you say about yourself. Online reviews are the place to start, especially on Google. Next, have testimonials on your website, including video testimonials. Display testimonials in your showroom where everyone can see them. Also, hand out printed testimonials to customers as they walk in.

In-home measures are often a gigantic missed opportunity to wow customers.Wear shoe covers. Dress professionally. Carry a laptop case or briefcase. Get permission to measure and inspect all of her flooring. Give her tips on getting the longest life out of her floors, even the areas you’re not replacing. Give her a free bottle of spotter with free lifetime refills.

After the sale send her a hand-written thank-you card. Do a post-installation follow-up visit and deliver a nice gift bag or invite her to your showroom to pick it up.

If you do these things, you can easily increase your closed sales from three out of 10 to four out of five without spending another dime in advertising. Imagine the impact that would have on your bottom line.

Jim Armstrong specializes in providing turnkey marketing strategies for flooring retailers. For a free copy of his latest book, “How Floor Dealers Can Beat the Boxes Online,” visit

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May 13/20, 2019

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